Wachowski Brothers Movies

Monday, July 25, 2011 at 10:29 am

The Wachowski Brothers movies have stretched the boundaries for what’s possible in the sci-fi and fantasy genres, and the impact of the Matrix trilogy is still being felt throughout the global cinematic landscape. They also sound like they’d be fun to hang out with. In addition to working as comic book writers before they became filmmakers, brother Larry has lived with an L.A. dominatrix and been reported as either a transvestite or transgendered individual. Meanwhile, brother Andy is bald and wears glasses.

Their feature film career stretches back to 1996, but they’ve only directed six movies in a 15-year period. They have been credited as producers on a number of projects, however, including V for Vendetta and Ninja Assassin.

Wachowski Brothers Movies

Wachowski Brothers Movies

I’m a big fan of a couple of their films, but the Wachowski Brothers movies haven’t reached the must-see status that I reserve for guys like Park Chan-Wook, Martin Scorsese, and Quentin Tarantino. The siblings are only in their 40s, though, so maybe the best is yet to come.

Bound (1996) – I’ve been smitten with Gina Gershon for years, mainly because she’s hot and comes off like a really cool chick in interviews (she collects circus and freakshow memorabilia, by the way). When she paired up with the busty Jennifer Tilly for a neo-noir tale of two lovers who decide to steal from the Mafia and start life anew, I was already hooked.

The film is a steamy romp filled with black comedy throughout, and co-star Joe Pantoliano also deserves praise for his role as short-fused mobster Caesar, who happens to be the abusive boyfriend of Tilly’s Violet. To get the lesbian sex scenes right, the Wachowskis even hired the services of feminist Susie Bright. The attention to detail shows, as the sapphic couplings between Corky and Violet are some of the steamiest R-rated encounters ever captured on film.

Bound - One of My Favorite Wachowski Brothers Movies

Bound - One of My Favorite Wachowski Brothers Movies

Just writing about this movie makes me want to go back and watch it again, if for no other reason than to have an excuse to ogle Gina Gershon’s well-toned body and distractingly sensual mouth. But that’s not to slight the direction of the Wachowski Brothers, as they bring a visual component that conjures up images of fine cigars, liquor decanters, and steamy same-sex kisses. The image of money strung across Caesar’s living room in an attempt to remove bloodstains is also pretty damned cool.

The Matrix (1999) – The “bullet time” revolution started with this groundbreaking sci-fi film, and Keanu Reeves demonstrated that he was more than capable of kicking ass with the best of them. Carrie-Ann Moss showed off her skill at wearing latex, and Laurence Fishburne was appropriately stiff as the grizzled guru who completely lacked a sense of humor.

But the real star of the show was Hugo Weaving, an Australian actor who I saw for the first time in this film. His diction was impeccable and perfect for an unstoppable agent of the villainous machines, and his deep baritone dripped with menace and contempt.

The real strength of the film wasn’t in its Alice in Wonderland metaphors or hippie notions of expanding the mind; it was the fight scenes that allowed The Matrix to stand apart from the crowd. My favorite was the sparring session between Neo and Morpheus in a sparse dojo, with wires, editing, and plenty of personal coaching allowing the actors to look every bit as proficient as guys like Jet Li and Jackie Chan. Second place would go to the scene where the heavily-armed duo of Neo and Trinity arrive at the building where Morpheus is being held captive and proceed to make mincemeat out of an endless wave of security guards.

I’m also a huge fan of Rage Against the Machine, so the inclusion of “Wake Up” over the closing credits was a nice bonus. For that matter, I was also getting my groove on when tunes from Rob Zombie and Monster Magnet popped up during the film.

The Matrix Reloaded (2003) – After the success of The Matrix, the inevitable sequel followed. Shot back-to-back with the third installment, it introduced a dizzying array of philosophical mumbo-jumbo and started adding in CGI combat to replace the personal battles that worked so well in the original. I could’ve done without the Oracle and the introduction of the Architect, as their dialogue made me feel like I was sitting through a philosophy class in college. I did, however, appreciate the cameo from Roy Jones, Jr, and Monica Bellucci’s cleavage made me temporarily forget about any shortcomings.

The Matrix Revolutions (2003) – If you thought the second film was a disappointment, you’ll be tearing your hair out over the third. It features a bummer ending, and the supposedly inspirational last stand of Captain Mifune (Nathaniel Lees) is laughably overwrought with repeated heroic bellowing. I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, as Revolutions made less than half the revenue of the second film and earned an overall rating of 38 percent at Rotten Tomatoes.

The Animatrix

The Animatrix from the Wachowski Brothers

The Animatrix (2003) – The Wachowski Brothers get director and writer credit in this anthology of nine animated shorts set in the world of the Matrix, although most of the episodes are actually helmed by others. While I’ve read positive reviews, I’ve never gotten around to watching it. This is probably due to how unimpressed I was with the second and third films in the live-action trilogy. Still, I suppose I shouldn’t hold guys like Koji Morimoto (one of The Animatrix’s many directors) responsible for the failings of the Wachowskis.

Speed Racer (2008) – I was never a fan of the cartoon, so watching the live-action version didn’t appeal to me. I remember being happy that Matthew Fox was cast in the role of Racer X (after Keanu turned it down), but Emile Hirsch as Speed Racer did little to get me to open my wallet. I wasn’t alone, as the movie proved a huge disappointment at the box office. Opening around the same time as Iron Man didn’t help things, either.

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If you’re looking for a visual assault on the senses, be sure to check out one of the Wachowski Brothers movies listed above. Whether they’re weaving a tale of hot lesbian lovers or adapting a popular animated series from Japan, you’re certain to get a product that’s engaging, entertaining, and filled with plenty of technical wizardry. But just to be on the safe side, read up on your Kierkegaard beforehand.

This entry was posted on Monday, July 25th, 2011 at 10:29 am and is filed under Good Movies, Thoughts on Film. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Wachowski Brothers Movies”

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August 6, 2011

MoviesNowx

I love the Wachowski Brothers movies. They are the best.

February 28, 2012

John Clifton

When I see someone copying the Matrix film techniques now, it often makes me roll my eyes. But anytime I see the original movie, it takes me back to my first viewing of the film in a theater. I was just so blown away, like watching live-action anime. The lobby scene was my favorite. People see few revolutionary films in their lifetime and The Matrix was one those which completely changed the game for action flicks.

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